Do I legally have to accept an inheritance and why? 13 Answers as of November 30, 2015

Is there a legal obligation to act upon a notification of an inheritance i.e. either to claim or to renounce it? In other words, can there be legal penalties for not replying at all to inheritance notifications and if so, what is the time frame for that?

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O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, one is not required to accept something like an inheritance because one cannot be forced to have something. One may not need to act to not accept something, but if one is entitled to receive property like an inheritance then it is often best to file a written disclaimer to not accept the asset.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 11/30/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
If you fail to renounce, you will receive the inheritance.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/14/2015
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
If you do not disclaim it in a timely manner, it will be yours. If you do not accept it, it will go to unclaimed property division or a similar such division of the county or state. Disclaimers must be timely per state law and IRS regulations. Sounds like you should seek legal advice on the specifics of your case. This is opinion is solely based upon the facts presented in the inquiry. Additional facts may be important and may change the analysis. If you are uncertain, seek legal counsel. We are not your attorneys. This answer is being offered to assist you in determining if you need to retain legal counsel to assist you, not to resolve your issue through an email inquiry.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/3/2015
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
In Illinois you have the right to disclaim an inheritance provided you have not accepted any benefit therefrom. You should consult an attorney for the proper means to make a disclaimer. There are no time limits in Illinois on filing a disclaimer but there are federal tax consequences if a disclaimer is not filed within 9 months. If you do not respond to notifications regarding the opening of an estate then you may lose or waive an opportunity to challenge the validity of a Will or Trust, the progress of proceedings, and/or the actions of the estate representative or trustee.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/3/2015
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Yes, you need to notify the executor of the estate about what you want to do. If you don't want the inheritance, submit the paperwork to renounce it. And do it ASAP so the executor of the estate can determine who is next in line to receive the assets. Otherwise, you could end up explaining to the probate judge why you're acting like a surly child.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/3/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Sounds like an heir finder is looking to make some money by obtaining an assignment of your share an estate. No you don't have to accept a share of an estate, but may want to seek the assistance of a probate attorney to draft the necessary declination documents to protect you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/3/2015
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    You do not need to accept an inheritance. You can ignore it, disclaim it, assign it, or accept it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/3/2015
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    No, you can disclaim if within applicable time limits. Contact an attorney specializing in estates.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/3/2015
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    You can renounce an inheritance, but you will have to sign documents stating that this is your wish. Contact the attorney who is handling the succession.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/3/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If you want to disclaim an inheritance, you should do that within nine months of the decedent's death that way, it is not a taxable gift. If you simply don't respond, the estate will have to spend a lot of money trying to figure out what to do about you; they may have to turn your share over to the Division of State Lands; it will be a headache. Why be a headache? Take your share and donate it to charity, if you don't want the money.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/3/2015
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
    You can renounce the bequest. No penalties for doing nothing.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/3/2015
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